As usual with a new Civ game i started it out on the easiest mode, just to get an idea of what to watch out for on higher difficulties.
And i've got to say that what i've learned so far is "don't start on a tiny peninsula", because as it is i'm unintentionally playing a One City Challenge game =P
My starting spot seemed fine until i moved west and the spur of land i was on narrowed down to a three tile isthmus.
The middle tile of those three is occupied by one of those NPC settlements, which is fine. Except two tiles past the settlement is an alien nest. Which means there are a ton of aliens swarming on the other side of the settlement, and if i try to move past the settlement the aliens decide i'm getting too close to the nest and start attacking.
To add insidious poisoning to injury, the top space is a forest tile right next to the alien nest, which would be great except that it's also covered in miasma, so i can't fortify it for long. And since it's a forest i can't sprint through it on my way to attack the alien nest. So it's move a unit in, wait a turn, taking damage from miasma and any nearby units, then if i have enough health left attack the nest, then wait another turn, taking more damage from miasma and nearby units, and then run away.
By using three or four units cycling through in turns i actually managed to beat the nest once. But there were enough aliens still lurking around that i had to pull all my (heavily damaged) units back, and a relatively short while later the nest respawned.
I currently have a missile unit and two ranger units doing ranged attacks to whittle down the two Siege Worms and hordes of other lesser units wandering back and forth. Once that's done hopefully i'll be able to send my melee troops through, destroy the alien nest, and actually keep it under control this time.
Of course in theory i could send military units, or even a colonist, around by sea, but the one gunship i tried to send to support the action got ambushed and destroyed by two alien squid =P
From a couple Let's Plays i watched way back i know there's some way to make friends with the aliens, but A: i don't remember the details of how to do it, and B: i seem to recall that it was a long and involved process that was prone to complications, and even when it worked the "friendship" wasn't really binding.
All in all i really hope this an unusual circumstance, because otherwise i am _not_ looking forward to playing the game again on Normal difficulty. Having to deal with a conflict hot point in constrained space using a one unit per tile system is really emphasizing all the things i _don't_ like about the Civ5 engine.
So aside from alien difficulties i've got to say that the tech tree is hella complicated. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing in the long run after i've had a chance to get used to it, but it's certainly a little perplexing right now.
The UI also doesn't really seem optimal. I accidentally sent my initial Explorer on a couple fool's errands before realizing that there's no way to to actually select a terrain hex. I eventually noticed the description appearing in the upper right hand corner when i moused over it, but because of the tiny font size it doesn't really stand out and can be a little difficult to read at times. And now that i try to recall it, i think it may have not had any going of border around it. Definitely larger text in a bordered box in the lower left corner would work a lot better! And a link to the civilopedia would be great! It would be very useful for looking up details about different resource types.
It also took me a long time to figure out how to establish a trade route once i had a caravan. I also can't seem to find any graphs to compare how i'm doing again the other civs in various categories.
All in all i'm sure there will be a lot of "just one more turn" going on, but i definitely don't think it's going to go down as one of my favorite civ type games ever.